In order to be able to test the adapters sufficiently, we have chosen a very special case. Currently, a house with a living space of approx. 250 sqm and thick interior walls or ceilings is supplied with the help of an AVM FRITZ!Box 7390 and an AVM FRITZ!WLAN Repeater 310. Due to the house wiring, the FRITZ!Box cannot be connected centrally in the building and is located on the first floor on the outer side of the building. The repeater, on the other hand, is located centrally on the ground floor. The following sketches (not to scale) should make the positions a bit clearer. These sketches also mark the locations where stationary devices are connected via LAN or WLAN. Mobile devices such as smartphones or notebooks may also be available in all rooms.
In this setup, the wireless connection is repeatedly interrupted or performance is severely impaired, especially at positions furthest away from the router. In our eyes, this scenario is a very good test example in which the devolo Magic 2 WiFi Multiroom Kit can prove its capabilities.
Facility & Operation
On the homepage and in the instructions the manufacturer promises a simple and quick setup. In the first step, however, you should roughly plan where the three adapters should be attached. To be able to use the powerline features, an adapter must be connected near the router and with a LAN cable to the router. In our test, we place the second adapter at the point in the house where the repeater was previously located (i.e. centrally on the ground floor). The last WLAN module was again installed on the first floor on the other side of the house. On the following sketch the adapters are drawn again.
The basic setup was, as promised by the manufacturer, very simple. All adapters were plugged into the socket and the smaller module was connected to a LAN port of the router. Afterwards, all you had to do was wait. The synchronization between all devices and the activation of the WLAN happen automatically within two to three minutes. Each WLAN adapter has its own SSID and password which can be found on the back. If you don’t want to configure anything, you would theoretically be finished by now.
But if you want to make use of the mesh feature, for example, you can’t avoid a short configuration. For this purpose, the manufacturer provides free software for smartphones (devolo Home Network) or PC/Mac/Linux (devolo Cockpit). This tool can be used to monitor, update and configure all adapters. The start page provides an overview of all devolo devices used or connected within the network. In addition, the maximum possible speeds are displayed at the nodes. If you hover your mouse over one of the adapters, small icons will appear that can be used, for example, to call up and change the settings via a web browser. In addition to the usual settings such as SSID, passwords, DHCP, etc., you can also adjust whether the signal LEDs of the adapters should be permanently deactivated. The user interface is very clear and structured.
But what does mesh WLAN actually mean? Quickly explained, a Mesh WLAN is characterized by the fact that a terminal device always automatically connects to the fastest node in the environment. However, this requires that all adapters are operated with the same SSID. This can also be easily implemented with this kit. If the router used has the WPS function (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), the Magic 2 WiFi adapters can take over both the SSID and the password of the WLAN router through a short synchronization process and then no longer send your signal under another name. In our case, this configuration also worked the first time.
Finally, it had to be clarified whether all this effort was worth it at all. Before and after the conversion, speed measurements were carried out at various points using a DSL speed test. A DSL line with a maximum speed of 16,000 kbits/s is used. If one is connected to the router via cable, then approx. 7500 kbits/s will arrive and the client can upload with 790 kbits/s. The speed of the DSL line will be max. 16,000 kbits/s. Via WLAN, the download has been reduced by 500 kbits/s and the upload by 200 kbits/s. The client can then upload with 790 kbits/s. Unfortunately, these speeds could not be improved by using the devolo Magic 2 Multiroom Kit. What has improved, however, is the general stability. Since switching to the mesh or powerline features of the devolo kit, there have been no connection interruptions at any of the critical points. So the main goal was achieved!